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Parents of boy who hung himself call for end to bullying

FOOTBALL FAN: Sidney Boyimbo Nzamale was happy at home and school, an inquest heard

THE FAMILY of an 11-year-old boy found hanged in his bedroom is insisting he was picked on in the run up to his death and is calling for more action to combat school bullying.

Sidney Boyimbo Nzamale was found dead on October 2, 2011, just weeks after starting secondary school, an inquest heard last week.

North London Coroners Court heard allegations that Sidney had been “slapped in the head” and had his pockets patted down for money by a fellow pupil.

The school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, said they had carried out an investigation into the claims but found no evidence of bullying.

The north London school insisted it was “very robust” with its bullying policies. A teacher also told the inquest that a “slap in the head” would not necessarily be classified as bullying.

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The school’s principal said: “Sidney was a popular pupil and was seen as the ‘joker’ in the pack and seemed to settle into the school immediately.”

Coroner Andrew Walker, who recorded a narrative verdict on Thursday, June 13, concluded that bullying was not a contributing factor in Sidney’s death, adding he believed the schoolboy “did not intend to take his life”.

He also rejected the idea that unhappiness at home had played a part, and said his parents were not to blame.

The coroner said: “Sidney was happy at home and enjoyed school. Sidney responded impulsively following his having been unable to find a part of his PE kit when asked to by his parents. Sidney did not intend to die when he tied a tie around his neck.”

But Sidney’s father, Alunga, said the family remained convinced that their son, who had only been at the school for a short time, had been picked on.

He told the court that Sidney seemed to have had a “sad face” when he returned home from school in the afternoon.

“He would go to the kitchen. Something was going on, but Sidney didn’t want to tell me… Sidney never told me about school. He only talked about the football,” the grieving father said.

Sidney’s father, originally from Congo, also mentioned how hungry Sidney would be when he got home despite being given lunch money by his parents each week.

His mother, Mpela Boyimbo Ona, said: “We believe he was bullied, and slapped once. More should be done in schools on anti-bullying.”

The family’s representative, Paul Phoenix, from the organisation Parents Against Racism, agreed.
He said: “There has to be a recognisable body, so that a parent can go to them and ask them to investigate any incident of bullying in the school.

“I feel that lessons should be learnt to assist educational institutions to make them aware of some of the problems pupils are having and to encourage them to approach members of staff in confidence.”

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